Thetford bus station land worries

Plans for a new bus station in Thetford could be at risk if concerns about the effect on a nearby grade II listed house are not resolved, a report has revealed.

A planning application was submitted last year to build the station between St Nicholas Street and Minstergate, while regenerating its existing site, off Bridge Street, with shops, restaurants, a hotel and cinema.

However worries have emerged following the application to Norfolk County Council, about the impact on a nearby Minstergate house from both its owners, who have lodged an objection, and the Environmental Health officer.

A report to Norfolk County Council’s cabinet said that if the concerns were not addressed and the objection not withdrawn, they would be need to be considered as part of the planning application process.

“If this is not successfully overcome as part of this process the application could be refused,” it said. “In turn this could jeopardise the delivery of the bus interchange project and wider Moving Thetford Forward schemes.”

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The report, by the council’s director of environment, transport and development in conjunction with NPS Property Consultants, went on: “An opportunity exists to deal with the environmental health issues and the planning issues by agreeing to purchase the property and so ending the residential use.

“An alternative use less sensitive to noise can then be brought forward at a later date.”

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It added that the house, which is owned by a former county councillor but currently for sale, would no longer be suitable to be lived in if the bus station was built, and recommend coming to an agreement with the current owners to buy the house, on the condition they remove their objection.

Alternatively the cabinet could agree to bring forward a compulsory purchase order which was already being prepared for several areas of land around Minstergate, including two in the garden of the Minstergate house.

The report added that the home owners had indicated their intention to serve a blight notice, which would force the council to pay them the house value lost as a result of the building of the bus station, which officers believed could be successful, and had objected to the planning application because one of the bus bays would be in line with the back door of their property. Concerns were also raised by the Environmental Health officer about the proximity of the house to the bus station.

The cost of the purchase would be covered by Moving Thetford Forward. The issue will be discussed at a Norfolk County Council cabinet meeting on May 14.

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